Things seem to be moving quite quickly for the Aussie horror flick Wolf Creek over here at RopeofSilicon as we were the first to debut 11 pics from the film and now we get an early review from one of our forum members, many thanks go out to ‘CaptainPorks’ for the time he spent putting this together.
It should be mentioned that there are some minor spoilers inside his review so if you want to remain in the dark on this one you may not want to read on:
Wolf Creek would have to be one of the best horror movies made in recent times. As a kid I used to love scaring myself stupid watching horror movies like Friday 13th Part 1 or The Shining, however in recent years I feel that movies in the genre have become contrived and lacking any real thrills. It could just be me growing up, or it could be that the studios are reluctant to stray too far from the successful formulas used in the ‘Elm St’ and ‘Jason’ franchises. Anyway, that’s another issue all together.
The reason that Wolf Creek was able to hit the mark for me was its relevance to recent events in Australia. The film is loosely based on Australian serial killer Ivan Milat, who preyed on backpackers, and the disappearance of English backpacker Peter Falconio. The fact that these cases have been heavily publicised makes the story very believable and confronting.
Wolf Creek is a story about three backpackers who buy a cheap set of wheels and set out on a long drive to see a meteor crater far away in the West Australian outback. The Wolf Creek crater actually exists and is a popular destination for backpackers touring Australia. The movie starts with some strong character development where the viewer gets to know Australian traveller Ben (Nathan Phillips), and English travellers Liz (Cassandra McGrath) and Christie (Kestie Morassi) as they buy their car, get ready for their journey and generally revel in the freedom that backpacking brings. Some intelligent script writing even provides some genuinely funny and heartwarming moments as the trio embark on their journey.
The first taste of suspense comes as they stop at a roadhouse on their way to the crater. This is where the most important character of the movie is introduced – the landscape itself. Ben, Christie and Liz are confronted by a group of bad guys who insult the girls, leaving Ben to defend them. What really makes this sequence important isn’t the threat of the bad guys, but the remote location of the roadhouse. I mean, these guys are in the middle of nowhere! The feeling of helplessness that stems from being in trouble in such a remote location plays a major part in this film.
The trio eventually reach their destination and spend some time before planning to head back to the city, however when they get to their car at night fall they learn that it has broken down. Enter Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). Mick is a local vermin shooter who happens to be in the area, and he tells the three that he can fix their car, but he needs to get back to his camp to do so. Despite the girls feeling uneasy, they agree as there are no real alternatives. This is where the fun begins!
Mick is one of the most sinister characters ever to be put on film. John Jarratt is very clever in how he captures the charm of the outback Australian personality and mixes it with that of a sheer psychopath! Couple that with the fact that these characters are in the middle of nowhere and you have some very terrifying moments – ie. if you did get away, where would you go?!!
This is Greg McLean’s first effort as a feature director. He also wrote and co-produced the film, and he deserves every accolade that he will most certainly get for this film. It was shot entirely in Hi Definition digital, which really adds to the realism of the story. Apparently it was made on a budget of around US$1 million, which, quite frankly, is hard to believe after seeing the finished product. The craftsmanship in this movie is outstanding.
Using last year’s Sundance horror hit as a comparison, I have seen Saw and I enjoyed its plot driven nature, however I believe that Wolf Creek was far more terrifying and confronting than Saw. This is probably because I could more easily relate to the story Wolf Creek. I know that backpackers around the world will now be thinking twice before they accept help from unsuspecting strangers!
Must see for horror fans – 9/10.
To chat more about ‘CaptainPorks’ review join the thread he started here on our message boards.